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Looking back across two and a half years since the UK voted to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum, Philip Stephens writes in his column this week that the road to Brexit has long been strewn with hazards — now, as the crisis deepens, we have suddenly woken up to them.

And the hazards, as Britain stares them in the face, are those of a true crisis: “across Whitehall, committees of civil servants are hurriedly preparing contingency plans against a national emergency.”

Politics seems oblivious, Philip notes, with hardline Brexiters and a Labour leadership united only in their frivolous faithfulness to long indulged obsessions: “In truth, the big danger is of the absurdity obscuring the seriousness.” Theresa May, meanwhile, threatens the Commons with voting for her fudge or for chaos — this, he argues, is a false choice since asking for a delay to the Brexit timetable would allow for other options to be considered. But it may come down to choosing, in a referendum, to remain in the EU or a complete rupture with the other 27 nations. No one knows what lies ahead, Philip writes, but Britain must make up its mind.

Roula Khalaf dissects Donald Trump’s Saudi Arabia first policy

Chris Giles says the markets are turning a deaf ear to Bank of England governor Mark Carney

Anjana Ahuja explains how IQ profiling opens up new uber-parenting opportunities

Adair Turner argues that a zero-carbon economy is both feasible and affordable

What you’ve been saying

The £39bn is to cover commitments already made: letter from Dr Richard Carter, London, UK

Camilla Cavendish has repeated an all too common mistake in saying that “the £39bn of taxpayers’ money …was supposed to be contingent on getting a good deal” over Brexit. It was not. The £39bn is for commitments already made: the UK’s contribution to EU annual budgets up to 2020, the payment of outstanding commitments (staff pensions, and so on), and the financing of liabilities up to the end of 2020.

In response to “Nancy Pelosi’s House fight is a portent of battles to come”, Astrophysicist111 says:

Let’s try to clear our heads here: all the D-renegades trying to oust Ms Pelosi are conservatives, led by Marylander Steny Hoyer. It has the support also of the WSJ and many Republicans (like Karl Rove). It is a blatant effort to tamp down any progressive initiatives by either removing Ms Pelosi, or making the ‘win’ vote so close that many will question her legitimacy.

Is AI getting more stupid?: letter from Mark Evans, London, UK

I have noticed that the autocomplete on my phone has markedly worsened over the past few years. Perhaps this is an indication that artificial intelligence has its limits. Could it be that, over time, stupid human behaviour is picked up by the algorithm and its performance suffers?

Today’s opinion

The FT View: Bitcoin’s crash is not the end of cyber currencies
Banks and governments face a push to make money more digital

Lex: Merck/Palantir: big data, bigger ambition
Drugs groups are investing heavily in analytics but deals do not always prosper

Lex: Centrica dividend: averting meltdown
Pressure is building on the payout but it should not bust

Lex: Standard Chartered: fallen idle
There are some good reasons for the bank to consider buybacks

Lex: Rémy Cointreau: ageing badly
Investors in cognac maker would prefer rewards at a faster pace

Markets turn a deaf ear to the Bank of England
They assume Mark Carney’s words have as much weight as a smoker promising to quit tomorrow

Lex: Macy’s: parade grounds
Scepticism persists about the durability of store chain’s rally

beyondbrics: After the revolution, Ukraine needs evolution Heroism works but is no substitute for reliable institutions

beyondbrics: Kazakhstan has a decade to prepare for green transition
Diversification away from oil will be difficult and work should start now

Profiling for IQ opens new uber-parenting possibilities
Embryo selection will come with personal and societal costs

FT Alphaville: The temptations of student real estate

FT Magazine: The French House, Soho, London — Neil Borthwick’s menu has food lovers loitering with intent – review
‘A piece of shortbread is evidence of the existence of God’

Donald Trump’s Saudi Arabia First policy
The US will rue its president’s refusal to stand up to Mohammed bin Salman

A zero-carbon economy is both feasible and affordable
The issue is whether governments, industry and consumers are willing to do what is required

FT Alphaville: Markets Live: Thursday, 22nd November 2018

The FT View: Northern Ireland needs a deal to avoid a hard border
Draft withdrawal treaty will smooth relations on the island

fastFT: Opening Quote: Centrica loses customers but keeps dividend warm

FT View

The FT View: Bitcoin’s crash is not the end of cyber currencies
Banks and governments face a push to make money more digital

The FT View: Northern Ireland needs a deal to avoid a hard border
Draft withdrawal treaty will smooth relations on the island

The Big Read

The Big Read: How the rise of shadow banking fed India’s ‘clash of egos’
With elections next year, Narendra Modi is keen to see a change in approach from the central bank to help avert a slowdown

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